The Ten Commandments of Production Design

Take a look at this simple set of rules for establishing great production design on any project.

Take a look at these top 10 tips for production designers. The Ten Commandments of production design is a simple set of rules for establishing great production design on any project.

The Production Design Ten Commandments

1)    All the camera sees is the last coat of paint.

2)    Don’t cheat (unless you have to).

3)    Signs of protest are best done by amateurs. 

4)    The horizon is always at eye level.

5)    It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that look.

6)    Dirty old hand props need aging too.

7)    Be there when it’s still just lines on the floor.

8)    If it feels good, do it.

9)    The presentation is a bit of show business.

10)  Show no set before it’s time.

Are there any production design tips you think should be added or swapped on The Ten Commandments of Production Design by Ward Preston?

Source: Preston, Ward. What an Art Director Does: An Introduction to Motion Picture Production Design. Los Angeles: Silman-James Press, 1994. Print.

Posted by Rose Lagacé

Rose Lagacé is a production designer for film & television by day and an emerging filmmaker by night. Rose is also the creator and editor of Art Departmental where she celebrates the art and craft of production design.

  1. Martha Camarillo December 30, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Hi Rose!

    Thank you for your contributions, always stimulating. Same happens anywhere I guess. I would like to add:
    “Brilliant ideas must happen according to budget”.

    Happy New 2014, all the best!

    Martha Camarillo.


  2. I think number ‘7’ is probably one of the most important, yet most under-appreciated. The number of times when I’ve been there to rescue a design from a misunderstanding…


  3. I like the saying. Just always follow your heart. When it comes to designing, your own feeling is of importance.


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